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Identity and Violence: The Illusion of Destiny (Issues of Our Time) Paperback – February 17, 2007
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Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved --This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
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Top Customer Reviews
Far too much violence in the world today is fomented by the illusion that people are destined to a "sectarian singularity." Stereotyping people with a singular identity leads to fatalism, resignation, and a sense of inevitability about violence. It partitions people and civilizations into binary oppositions, it ignores the plural ways that people understand themselves, and obscures what Sen calls our "diverse diversities." In particular, he objects to the "clash of civilizations" thesis made popular by Samuel Huntington. Along the way he explores the implications of his thesis for multiculturalism, public policy, globalization, terrorism, anti-Western rage, democracy, and theories of culture.
Sen argues against identity violence caused by the illusion of destiny in three ways.Read more ›
This book is a necessary read for anyone who still prizes the ability to think critically and broadly.
Sen's prose is quite clear, and I find his claims rather convincing. The books style is a bit grating though. It's very repetitive. The same ideas resurface again and again along with the same examples. I suspect the book is really a compilation of speeches Sen has given. Repetition is necessary in speaking because the audience doesn't have time to step back and make the connections themselves. But in a book like this, already quite short, it's a waste of the reader's time.
Also Sen is not very careful with his historical examples. One recurring story he cites is how my Maimonides fled Christian Europe for Saladin's Egypt. Not true. Maimonides fled Almohad (and thus islamic) Andaluz for Saladin's Egypt. This was an easy fact to check, and you'd think an author of Sen's stature whould take the time to make sure an example he will use four or five times is correct.
The book is definitely worth reading. I only wish the author had spent just a bit more time tightening it up and doing a bit more fact checking.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Confusing. It was ok, but a heck of a lot to digest. It isn't light reading.Published 21 months ago by Fallon
Amartya Sen, the only Indian economist to win a Nobel Prize for economics, has written a splendid book. Read morePublished 21 months ago by Rajeet Guha
By far my favorite non-fiction, Sen really dissects the tendency not only toward societal movements that inflict violence but also by individuals based on the constructs of... Read morePublished on April 28, 2014 by Lauren
I ordered this text for my a class for my masters degree and it was an interesting read even as a textbook. I not only learned something, but was entertained in the process. Read morePublished on February 25, 2014 by Daryl A. Daniels
This book is interested in the question of human identity, its inherent multiplicity, and the choices that we make in regard to aligning ourselves with certain identities over... Read morePublished on February 21, 2014 by A Certain Bibliophile
Mr Sen strongly defends the view that the hegemony of single identity (religious, national, cultural, ...) is a dangerous fiction, and it is increasingly so in a globalised world. Read morePublished on January 20, 2014 by Mr G.
The ironic undercurrent is that Sen repeatedly argues against the illusion of a singular (or dominant) identity, yet his argument may only work if the reader's primary identity is... Read morePublished on August 27, 2012 by Rev Eric
I never met a self-respecting intellectual who gave any serious consideration to Samuel Huntington's thesis of the Clash of Civilizations. Read morePublished on January 12, 2012 by Etienne RP